A new law expands Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authority to grant hardship exceptions to eligible hospitals and professionals for the 2015 Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs. Failure to meet meaningful use requirements during the 2015 reporting year subjects providers and hospitals to a payment adjustment beginning in 2017.

The Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which President Obama signed Dec. 28, allows CMS to categorically grant exceptions for applicants that could not meet meaningful use requirements in 2015 for reasons that include the delay of the meaningful use program modifications final rule.

Normally, CMS grants exceptions on a case-by-case basis. This new law will help ease administrative burden and help CMS manage the hardship exception process. Hospital applications are due April 1.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.